HK Police to use maximum POO

The Hong Kong Police are to make full use of Cultural Revolution-era provisions of the Public Order Ordinance in order to deal with ‘suspicious’ gatherings of three or more people. ‘Suspicious’ presumably means ‘expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of governance’.

Since the Occupy-Umbrella movement began last year, the HKP have clearly been SCMP-PoliceToCrackpsyched-up to see and treat anti-government protestors as the enemy (compare with the relaxed, almost-friendly policing style at demonstrations in years past). This is due to pressure from above, not just in the Hong Kong government but from Beijing officials. The logic is that protestors are the cause of troubles and problems, not a reaction to them. No doubt this new police approach will be a great success, and we will see a significant increase in social harmony now.

But wait! More and new opposition to parallel traders suddenly appears. One Thierry Stern of tacky luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe complains about them as he bemoans the pressures forcing various designer brands to cut prices. Unlike with groceries, airline tickets and other commodities, the concept of ‘price cuts’ is toxic to the whole image and concept of luxury goods. A certain type of sucker craves these tawdry baubles because he or she believes other people who can’t afford them will envy them (it goes back to evolutionary psychology – attracting mates). Put a ‘20% off’ sign on these glitzy goods, and you ruin the whole thing. Today’s Standard even has an editorial trying to come to terms with cut-price Chanel bags.

The decline of the Euro and China’s anti-corruption clampdown are factors. But so, as Monsieur Thierry indicates, is the dreaded parallel trader. What he can’t bring himself to say is that the luxury brands have a very geographical pricing policy. In places where consumers are really dumb, desperate newbies, the French and Italian purveyors of overpriced crap ramp the prices right up. In places where people are mature and sensible and less gullible (and earning a collapsing disaster-currency), you adjust this component of the ‘shopping experience’ accordingly. Parallel traders expose how overpriced the overpriced crap is, damaging not simply profit margins but the whole illusion of value and desirability. Quel dommage.

I declare the weekend open with the thought that if Thierry is joined by his counterparts from Chanel and (say) Louis Vuitton to moan about this issue as a trio, we will have a high-end Public Order Ordinance breach on our hands.

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11 Responses to HK Police to use maximum POO

  1. Joe Blow says:

    So if, let’s say, 3 or more luggage-wheeling parallel traders line up at a milk powder emporium in Tuen Mun with the intent of engaging in an illegal activity like smuggling, they will be instantly arrested by ‘Asia’s Finest’ ?

    I am holding my breath right now.

  2. old git says:

    Tragic that that civil servant missed his footing and hit his head.

  3. PD says:

    It’s just the classic HK game of shoot-the-messenger, aka ostrich-in-the-sand, aka see no evil… There is in fact a little-known Hakka proverb about cutting the tallest grass, often misquoted in terms of monkeys and cocks (my own translation).

    The large bands of stick-wielding, bellowing, hawking, gesturing menfolk patrolling the remoter villages are clearly not “suspicious”, as their intentions are obvious to anyone.

  4. Cassowary says:

    I wonder what would happen if several hundred people separately stood on different street corners throughout Hong Kong holding yellow umbrellas one Saturday afternoon. Is it still an illegal assembly if they are not in any sense of the word, assembled?

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    Methinks the author has it out for Patek Philippe! First mocking that aging ’70s design watch and now a full on attack on the young president of the company! Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy!!
    Naturally it must kill Msr. Stern that most of the people buying his product now were farm hands or coal miners 20 years ago and refer to his goods not with the snobbish Français accent but rather “PP!!” (pee pee)

  6. Stephen says:

    @Chinese Netizen,

    Remember “You never really own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation of farm hands”

  7. NIMBY says:

    This guy has a bit of fun at the expense of people who buy Apple products & use Fecebook for their culture.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/techs-four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse-amazon-facebook-google-apple.html

  8. Spud says:

    Remember you never actually own a Patek Philippe. You are just going to sell it back to the shop 5 minutes later, minus a 10% fee, and get nice clean money at the end.

  9. Dica says:

    Let’s not forget the Swiss franc rise. Cowardly that PP, a Swiss watchmaker, is attempting to blame the price cuts on protestors, and not on the reality of currency fluctuations and the PRC corruption crackdown.

    But someone’s still buying the highest-end stuff, anyway: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2015/03/patek-philippe-2-5-million-watch-sold.html

  10. Phyllis Stein says:

    Anyone spending serious amounts of money on ‘luxury’ watches (basically bits of metal in a gold plated case), diamonds (bits of shiny glass), designer handbags (stitched pig leather) or vintage wine (fermented grape juice) is essentially out of his/ her mind.

    Have you noticed that nobody ever advertises to sell a commodity like plain gold ?

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